Publicado: Sol, Diciembre 09, 2018
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

Seattle Woman Dies After Brain-Eating Amoeba Enters Her Body

Seattle Woman Dies After Brain-Eating Amoeba Enters Her Body

It appears that this woman became infected with the amoeba through flushing of her sinuses with the tap water.

As reported by the Seattle Times, a woman was admitted to a local hospital's emergency department after suffering a seizure in January.

The woman, who was 69 years old, died in February - roughly a month after doctors discovered the amoeba in her brain and about a year after she was initially infected.

"There were these amoebas all over the place just eating brain cells", Cobbs tells the Seattle Times.

"We didn't have any clue what was going on", he added.

Doctors believe a woman who died from rare brain-eating amoebas used tap water to rinse her sinuses. There have been over 200 diagnoses of the disease worldwide, 70 of which were in the United States, per the CDC. The publication doesn't identify the victim. Globally, only 200 infections have ever been recorded, of which 70 occurred in the United States. That report found there have been 109 cases of the amoeba reported in the US between 1974 and 2016. The fatality rate is almost 100 percent.

They started treating the infection, to no avail.

Even though such infections are very rare, there were three similar US cases from 2008 to 2017. "But my fear was that I was right".

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Once in her body, the amoeba slowly went about its deadly work. It's believed that the woman used tap water she'd put in a pitcher with a filter.

The woman's doctors say they think her death was ultimately tied to her use of the Neti pot.

According to Dr. Zara Patel, a professor of otolaryngology at Stanford University, when people use contaminated water to rinse their nose and sinuses, they can be at risk for aggressive infections.

Shortly after contracting the amoeba, the woman developed a red sore on her nose, which was misdiagnosed as the common skin condition rosacea. Cobbs said this was likely the first symptom of the amoeba, but its rarity makes the amoeba hard to quickly diagnose. At first doctors thought the woman had a tumor, as she had been previously diagnosed with breast cancer. In fact, her case of GAE is the first to be linked to the washing of the nasal cavity, according to Keenan Piper, a member of the Swedish team that produced the study.

A neurosurgeon from Swedish Medical Center in Seattle said this is a rare situation but is warning patients to be sure to follow the directions when using a Neti pot for nasal congestion, and use only boiled or distilled water.

The woman, doctors realized, had been infected with Balamuthia mandrillaris, a type of amoeba that can infect the brain and cause massive damage. The other slow-acting amoeba is called Acanthamoeba spp. "People should just go about their normal lives", he said.

Her case is reported this week in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. It was microscopic amoebas that were feasting on her brain.

"He thought it looked suspicious for amoeba infection". There are molds and fungi that can kill you if it infects your brain. "So that's what we suspect is the source of the infection", Cobbs said, according to KIRO. "At least I hope not".

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